5 November 2011


The debate on carbon issues has reached stalemate, it seems. The latest idea, that house insulation will cut down on problems and lessen one's carbon footprint is given governmental backing and grants are available.

I have problems relating to health when it comes to over insulating a home. In winter, I tend to just go upstairs where the rooms are warmer (and those who don't have an upstairs will already find they are losing interest)and wrap up in many layers. Having been in houses that have been subjected to the new systems, I find it difficult to feel comfortable. The air is inert in these spaces as it does not flow. A house should be allowed to breath and wrapping it up over securely may not actually make one ill, but, in my experience at least, it can make it very uncomfortable. I have stopped visiting such houses.

The alternative to insulation is to winter in a warmer country. This is not always possible, but it certainly solves most of the problems faced by those who are going to have heating bills that could send one into overdraft. There will be carbon taxes and many different inconveniences involved, notably the problem of not being in own's own well-loved home, but if faced with ruin, it is a reasonable option.

And getting back to the insulation, the mess involved, whether the system is inside or out along with the hidden costs of electricity and water usage is worth studying before a plan is drawn up. Over the years, having builders in the house has been manageable, but not enjoyable. Obviously, wealthy people can afford to live elsewhere while work goes on but for the average householder, getting out every day and living in squalor for the duration of the work is the norm.

Also the building trade is so stressed at the moment that inviting stressed people to work in one's domestic space takes a preliminary course in PR and psychology. Many builders, used to working on new building estates, have not thought about how to deal with house owners. They say what they want done and try to convince the would-be employer that they know best. I would never buy a house that had been owned by a professional builder. Everything is done to the exact letter of the law as it is officially set out at the time the work was accomplished. It is usually a very fine example of excellent craftsmanship and is stuffed with heaven only knows what sort of materials were fashionable at the time. Upgrading would involve ripping a lot of rubbish out.

The last few months were spent studying insulation systems. Any that I've met so far have left me with a simple solution... Sell up and go somewhere warm...

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